Monique and the Gorillas
By Stella Knoxville
Monique had been one year ahead of me in Rainbow College. It was that last year of college for her when we were dorm-mates. I hesitate calling them dorms. It might be more accurate to call them portable tents made of corrugated tin. The entire campus was dismantled and moved on a regular basis. Anyway, Monique and I became very close friends. This was before she and Russell hooked up. We spent many hours chatting in our mosquito infested dorm room. Remember, there are no cell phones, internet, TV, cameras, DVDs, CDs, or any other connections to the mass mind allowed while in Rainbow College. We were only allowed one five-subject spiral notebook and a black-inked Rolling Writer pen. We weren't even allowed razors to shave our armpits.
Although we were quickly friends, we really bonded in a huge way when we went on patrol together into the mighty Virunga Volcanoes of Uganda. We went there to experience rainbows but my heart was all aflutter over the prospect of seeing some rare mountain gorillas. I've always dreamt of sitting in a rainforest with a group of gorillas. It was near the end of our three-week patrol that Monique and I found ourselves walking through rather thick forest underbrush. Monique motioned for me to cease all movement. We stood still as granite. We could see the leaves rustling up ahead but we could not see what was causing it. Soon, we could hear deep guttural breathing. And then suddenly a gorilla appeared from behind the foliage....and then another gorilla....and another and another. Before we knew it, Monique and I were surrounded by 18 gorillas, any one of whom could have had us for lunch. But the gorillas just sat down in a circle around us. They all faced us and just watched us. So Monique and I just sat down and stared back at the gorillas.
Despite tens of thousands of bugs, it was the most awesome, wonderful experience ever! After sitting with the gorillas for about twenty minutes it suddenly began to rain. It was a rainforest drencher that lasted about fifteen minutes. The gorillas certainly weren't bothered by the rain. They never even moved. So Monique and I sat there in the drenching rain just like the gorillas. They kept looking at us and we kept looking at them.
After the rain stopped the sun began sending shafts of light down through the forest canopy. Although rain was no longer falling, the forest continued to drip on the gorillas, Monique and me. It was so freaking cool. Then suddenly one of the young female gorillas stood up on her hind feet and pointed up towards the sky.
I looked up to see what the gorilla was pointing at and saw that it was a rainbow.
Copyright 2013, by Stella Knoxville. All Rights Reserved. Excerpted from her novel, Rainbow Patrol
Read about Bernadette Safari's adventures at Rainbow College in Africa in Stella Knoxville's hilarious novel, Rainbow Patrol.